SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - "I'm at the 76ers to sing the National Anthem and the organization is telling me that I can't because I'm wearing a "We Matter" Jersey. What??"
That was the tweet singer/songwriter Sevyn sent out to her almost 170,000 followers last night, just minutes before she was to sing the national anthem at the 76ers home game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Sixers -- she claims-- opting out because of the "We Matter" shirt Sevyn was wearing.
"In this era of "black lives matter," there's been a counter narrative of all lives matter. I think what she was saying was "we matter," meaning all human beings matter."
Chad Lassister is a national expert on race relations. He says he was at last night's game and didn't realize the behind the scene controversy.
"Singing tonight's National Anthem is Sixer's dancer Jemila..."Oh say can you see.."
The Sixers dancer stepped in at the very last minute.
Lassiter says even though Sevyn reportedly signed a contract stipulating the team has the final say on the performance, he feels the singer should have been allowed to wear the shirt.
"It's an opportunity for the 76ers to allow freedom of expression to say we are not going to silence people.
"I think the 76ers and namely, specifically the NBA can take a lesson from the NFL who allows protests to take place."
But others say it's not the proper platform.
Marc McClosky, of Riverton, New Jersey said, "When I watch the game, I just wanna watch the game. I don't want any distraction. I'm trying to get away."
Brittany Heyne, of Philadelphia, said "I think if you want to do that take it somewhere else, not a sporting event."
The 76ers issued a statement last night..
"The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community."
Still, some are trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.
Gwen Rivers, from West Philadelphia said, "I don't see where it hurt anybody. She's just singing the National Anthem with a shirt that says, "we matter."